Council Rate Capping
John Darley, Advance SA (5AA 9.46-9.51) Council rate capping
(Byner: Yesterday morning we had a very interesting discussion with Stephan Knoll … and also Darryl Gobbett … you can see that there is plenty of room for councils to move to cut their cloth rather than stop services. Frank Pangallo called in making his case for no, not rate capping, no good. Now John Darley was listening to this, John is one of the Crossbenchers in the Upper House. He rang me and said ‘Listen, I think I need to put the record straight because things that were said yesterday by this speaker were not right … good morning, John … tell us the issue.) Well the issue boils down to … every family in South Australia understands that they have to live within their means and that is no different for local government councils … in 2014 when I was with Nick Xenophon we announced a policy for rate capping for councils in South Australia … unfortunately in 2018 just before the election Nick changed his mind after going to a Local Government Association meeting and so SA-BEST policy then was to oppose it. The situation clearly is … a few weeks ago I attended a meeting at the … Adelaide Town Hall convened by the Local Government Association … to talk about rate capping … I mentioned at that stage that in the last four years councils in the main have kept their rates at CPI or below … that was without legislation so what’s the argument now? I heard with interest Stephan Knoll on the radio saying that in his experience talking to people, everyone is saying ‘We’ve got to cap council rating.’ I agree with that. Now Frank Pangallo … suggested that there are other ways of solving this problem and he suggested … council amalgamations … have a look at the council amalgamations, look at Onkaparinga Council, one of the biggest councils in the State and one of the least efficient councils … I’m a great believer of big is not always beautiful … what councils need to understand, they need to become efficient … I think Darryl Gobbett was making that point … a couple of years ago there were three large councils mayors, Burnside was one, Mitcham and Unley were reported as saying ‘Look, we don’t agree with council amalgamations but we can save money other ways by sharing resources.’ So I wrote to each of these … I got two responses back, one from Lachlan Clyne from Unley who tended to agree with me, the other one from Glenn Spear from Mitcham – no, no, it was Burnside actually – David Parkin from Mitcham who wrote back and referred me to a local government committee that was looking at all of these things … I’ve never been able to get to the bottom of what they were talking about. I did have a meeting with the Local Government Association earlier this week and they talked about waste disposal … the eastern suburbs do that … it never goes anywhere … we can only live within our means … families can’t – if they want to buy a new car they can’t go to their employer and say ‘Look, I need a new car so you’re gonna have increase my wage.’ (Byner: So what was said yesterday that you didn’t agree with?) Oh the … argument about rate capping, the alternative that we could adopt other means like amalgamation. Well to my knowledge neither the Liberal Party or the Labor Party are too interested in amalgamations and at the end of the day amalgamations have proved not to be the solution to the problem and I agree with Darryl Gobbett because he was making the same point.